Quick Fall Updates

It’s in the air & I couldn’t be more thrilled. Fall.
Mmm… oranges & reds, pumpkins, wool socks, scarves and snuggling.

Yep. It’s pretty awesome.

So, I didn’t feel it was fair for only the outdoors to celebrate Fall. The indoors needed some excitement too. Hence a few seasonal house swaps… free ones too! 🙂

The table needed a new centerpiece. I had a leftover canvas in my laundry room, some Halloween ribbon I purchased several years ago & a printable pumpkin monogram pattern from here that I pinned on Pinterest. After I printed this one, I decided I liked the look of the single “S” better than N, H, S. So I eliminated the first name initials.

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I just used some tape to tape the monogram paper to my canvas (so I can remove it later and reuse my canvas.) After taping the paper down, I used my low-temp glue gun to cover up the taped edges with my festive ribbon. I am rather fond of my free update!

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Then the chalkboard got some seasonal love. Last night I was getting rather frustrated with my lack of freehand artistic abilities. I had fiddled with the chalkboard but couldn’t land on anything I liked. So I went to bed…and woke up to this.

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What a sweet man I have, right? He even swagged the leaves all on his own. I think I am “falling” for him all over again… Ok, too corny? 🙂

The front door got some attention:

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And my favorite spot in the house- my new dresser-turned-console got some sprucing. I love the warm coziness of it all!

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It isn’t much, but my goal this year was to spend no money, but still feel like Fall had arrived. And I feel successful.

How are you prepping your houses for Fall? Any good freebie ideas I can steal from you? 🙂

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ABC- for YOU from ME

Several months ago, one of my nieces had a birthday…as in she was born.

Then the next month another one had a birthday…as in she turned another year older.

Then several months later, another niece had a birthday…again, another year older.

Those three nieces have two things in common with each other (well in reality, they have many things in common, but for sake of this post, follow along. please.)

1. They are sisters

2. None of them received gifts from me ON their birthdays.

I know. I felt terrible! When Baby was born (the 1st Girly birthday of the year,) I knew I wanted to do something for the “Girls Room.” A door sign or something to celebrate the addition of more girliness to the family!

So I asked my Big Sis what colors she was going to use in the girls room. She told me. And I did nothing with the info. I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to do!

Out of desperation, I turned to Pinterest… and it didn’t fail me! I found several of this type of art from several Etsy artists.

Personalized Alphabet Name Print for New Baby Nursery or Child's Room - Graphic Typography Art 8x10 or 5x7

I’m not uber-crafty or anything, but I decided I had to at least TRY to make one of these myself… But due to my procrastination, I had to make 3 instead of just 1 🙂

So without further ado, my take on the Alphbet Art. For the girls room. Complete with some sparkle, because, well, because they’re sparkly, fun girls…or “goyeuls” as their cousin Elijah would say.

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I bought 3 inexpensive wooden frames, spraypainted/craft painted them in the desired colors… then glued on the coordinating initials. I then, very simply, just used Microsoft Word and played with the layout of my letters and colors until I found the look/size I was going for.

They can keep their Alphabet Art, or just have some bright fun frames to display their artwork or pictures of their beautiful selves.

And evidently my string of inefficiency is still in tact because I seem to have forgotten to photograph Miss Charlotte’s “C” frame. But just scroll up to the picture above and squint your eyes to remove the other two…you’ll get the idea :).

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Be inspired! These would be a very simple gift option for a couple that is expecting a little one too!

Do Zebras Paint Their Toenails?

If this is your first time visiting here today, check out this post, then come back.

Are you back?

Ok good- so now you know about my whole Mod Podge DIY experiment. I love a good success story 🙂

Well, I didn’t just make Mod Podge for the fun of it- I had a project in mind. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen these “spice rack turned nail polish organizers” floating around on Pinterest (the one pictured is from here):

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Well, my sister-in-law, who turned 17 this month, had been eyeballing that shelf on Pinterest. She has quite the nail polish collection, and loved the idea of displaying it in her room.  So way back in July, when I found out that she liked it, and if she had one, she’d like it to be purple, I went into birthday gift stealth mode.

I was determined.

I scoured thrift stores, craigslist, online, etc. looking for a shelf with similar lines to the shelf pictured above, which was previously used to hold spices. I couldn’t find one. I found lots of different types of spice racks, but none that I really liked the lines of.

Then one day, I found this shelf at Goodwill:

(My apologies for the terrible camera phone shots in this post…I forgot to take “real pictures” as I went.)

It’s not the same as the inspiration shelf, I know, but it matches the lines of some of my sister-in-law’s other bedroom decor, so I took a major leap of faith (I mean, look at that thing!) and bought it. Ok, so to be honest, it wasn’t necessarily a major leap of faith… it only cost $3.99- gotta love Goodwill!

It was very dirty, and required a good cleaning, some removal of old nails/hardware, and some sanding. After those steps, I pried the backing off, which was a piece of plywood, and by “I,” I mean my husband pried that off.

Using my DIY’ed decoupage, I adhered zebra print scrapbook paper to the plywood. I got the paper from Hobby Lobby for $2 total.

The steps are simple: Decoupage on wood, stick paper onto decoupage, allow to dry, decoupage over top, allow to dry. Here’s a shot of the shelf with the changes to the backing:

After changing the back, to personalize it to match her zebra themed bedroom, as well as make it more fun, it was on to paint! And purple it was. The purple paint was purchased for $0.57 at WalMart- it is just a small bottle of craft paint.

I love it! And the best part is that my sister-in-law loves it too! It’s a one-of-a-kind piece, and she didn’t waste any time getting it set up in her room. Here it is all decked out 🙂

Not sure if I’m allowed to say this in blogworld or not, but…. I think I even like mine better than the Pinspiration piece! Shh, don’t tell 🙂

Shelf- $3.99

Paper- $2

Paint- $0.57

Decoupage- $1

Total Cost: $7.56

Not too shabby, eh?

Putting the Mod in Podge

I’m on a little bit of a “prove it to me Pinterest” roll. I can pin 1000 things, but they will do me NO good if they sit on Pinterest, and I never try them out. So I figured I’d share one of my most recent projects with you- later 🙂

First things first though… the project I’ll share with you later required Mod Podge. When I went to buy Mod Podge, I was a little surprised at the cost. I was completely on a budget for this project, so back to Pinterest I went. After doing some research from friends as well as on the internet, I landed on this site via Pinterest, and a “recipe” if you want to call it that, for homemade decoupage/adhesive medium (image below is from the site linked above.)

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The recipe? Equal parts: Elmer’s School Glue & Water. Shake well in a glass jar.

Umm, even I can handle that!

So I bought two bottles of Elmer’s School Glue, cleaned an old glass salsa jar out, and turned on my sink faucet. Seriously.

In went the glue and an equal amount of water. I shook it to death. And it worked like a charm! I am so excited to show you what I used it for! Come back later to find out 🙂

Total cost for this project: $1.00

The glue was $0.50/bottle. I didn’t even come close to using it all for this one project though, so technically, I could’ve probably gotten by on just one bottle of glue! A great cost-saver when compared to Mod Podge.

Successful Pin!

 

It’s good. Trust me.

A long while ago, in this post, I promised to share 2 recipes with you. Two really good recipes. I shared one… and completely forgot about the 2nd one. It’s the cardinal sin of recipe sharing- to talk about how good something is, then not share it. I’m sorry. Truly.

Are we ok now?

Phew- I was worried!

Ok, so here’s the deal. I am head-over-heels for rice. I eat it plain, I eat it with a little butter and salt, I eat it fried, with sauce on top, basically any way you can fix it, I will eat it and love it.

So, when I saw this Chipotle-esque spin on a rice dish, I knew I had to try it. My husband is not as crazy over rice as I am, but he loves Mexican flavors, so I hoped this one would win him over.

It did! Major score.

I hope it wins not only your approval, but the approval of the rice “fence-rider” in your life.

Check out the recipe here:

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bake

Psst… I borrowed the picture from TastyKitchen as well, and of COURSE I originally found this recipe via Pinterest 🙂 You had to know that was coming. Enjoy!

 

I pin it to win it…

…your affection that is.

I’m of the old breed that believes that the way to a person’s heart, not just a man, is through their stomach. So picture me frantically worming my way in there with some delish recipes. 🙂

Pinterest has delivered me with some all-time low recipes, but also some all-time highs, and this week we have had the joy of taste-testing two of the best recipes I have ever gotten off of the internet. One at a time though…

First things first- the best “fake-out take-out” Chinese meal I’ve ever made.

And I have tried to replicate a lot of Chinese take-out restaurant style meals. Most have turned out moderately to seriously unsuccessful. There’s just something missing. (Perhaps a literal ton of grease.)

So I skeptically pinned this recipe for “Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken” the other day…. I pined over it, but didn’t get my hopes up.

Then I took the plunge- I made it.

An boy oh boy, it was so good. We decided that if we served this at home with some egg rolls and homemade fried rice, we could easily fool guests and tell them we picked up take-out.

Try it. You’ll thank me for it, and I’ll weasel right into that heart, er stomach, of yours. 🙂

*I’d say it’s more of a “sesame chicken,” but the original recipe called it sweet and sour*
The chicken coating:
 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt + pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
The sweet and sour sauce:
 3/4 cup sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
Start by preheating your oven to 325°. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat, then dip into the eggs.  Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9×13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for one hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes.
As usual, I halved this recipe and it turned out just perfect for the 3 of us. Also, we served it over white rice 🙂
Enjoy!
*Recipe & Photo from this post on “Life as a Lofthouse”*

Given in

I’ve done it again.

I’ve given in to the “pin.”

Pinterest, that is.

If you are on Pinterest (as if there’s anyone that isn’t these days!) then you have likely seen this picture circulating:

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The Pioneer Woman’s Crash Hot Potatoes (picture is hers also.)

Technically, I discovered this recipe a long time ago while actually on the Pioneer Woman’s blog. Then I added it to my “recipes to make” list, and forgot about it…I had the best of intentions when I created that list, but somehow when I plan my weekly menu plan, I always forget to check there first! 

But last night, I was pinning away, and happened upon one of the many, many pictures of this recipe that are floating around on Pinterest. And they just looked so tasty!

Luckily for me, I had bought a clearanced bunch of red new potatoes for only 79¢ yesterday at our grocery store. So when my handsome husband decided to grill some hamburgers for dinner tonight, I knew these would be the perfect accompaniment.

I was right.

They’re super simple! I only made one change to the recipe. The PW sprinkled hers with rosemary, but since we were having “ranchero” burgers, I sprinkled ours with S & P, and a little dry ranch powder.

Mmm, Mmm, Good!

So, thank me later when you make these. And check out the Pioneer Woman for yourself- her food is great!

Crash Hot Potatoes

 

  • 12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil (to keep potatoes from sticking.) Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.